Josh Smith: Bluesman Plans European Tour
He’s just back from London, and will be leaving on tour in two days. I can hear both the fatigue and the determination in his voice. Josh Smith is a very busy man.
Fortunately, Josh is also a multitasker. He adeptly handles requests on both sides of the phone line while moving hurriedly through the mall. There’s the interviewer on the telephone, and his young son by the musician’s side. This afternoon’s mission is important. Somehow and somewhere, a certain Samurai Power Ranger must be found before Dad can go on tour.
That tour will soon take the in-demand guitarist across the Atlantic. There he’ll back soul singer Raphael Saadiq at several performances throughout western Europe. Come mid May, Josh will headline his own European tour in support of the soon to be released album “I’m Gonna Be Ready”.
The new album will be familiar to some as the 2006 release “Deep Roots”. Later this month that music will be made available to the European market for the first time, reissued as “I’m Gonna Be Ready” on the CrossCut Records label. A bonus CD of four songs from Josh’s new all instrumental album “Inception” will be included with the first three thousand purchases.
Touring with Josh will be two longtime friends and musicians, John Yarling and Jeff Young, on drums and organ, respectively. The trio plan thirteen appearances at clubs and blues festivals within a sixteen day span in Germany. That does not include scheduled appearances on radio and television.
The headlining tour allows Smith the opportunity to introduce his original blues and roots music to a new and interested audience. Josh has been playing guitar and writing music since childhood, playing lead guitar in adult bands from the age of thirteen. Guitar great Jimmy Thackery once said of the young talent, “Josh is three heartbreaks away from being a true blues guitar genius.”
Josh has stayed true to his first love. While his songwriting offers original music across a range of genres, the overall approach is from the perspective of a bluesman. Says Josh, “I don’t feel like I will ever get that far from blues; in fact I kind of think that’s what after all these years, defines me as me…….everything that I play, be it some straight ahead rock and roll tune or jazz tune comes from the heart of a blues guy, you know. So you’re going to get that feeling from me no matter what I’m playing. It’s kind of my calling card.”
From the album “Inception”, a Josh Smith original – “Penance”
The European tour also signals Josh’s intent to strike a new balance between doing “my own thing” and his work as a sideman. Over the last few years Smith has played in support of Taylor Hicks, Raphael Saadiq, and Jennifer Hudson, among others. That work has offered some unique and memorable opportunities. At this year’s Grammys, Josh was on stage and rocking with Saadiq and Mick Jagger as they performed “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”.
Josh describes both Saadiq and Jagger as consummate professionals. Saadiq was focused and, as always, 100% committed to the song and performance. Jagger made every rehearsal. Following the Grammys, the rocker surprised each musician and crew member with a gift basket and personalized note of thanks. It was a night to remember.
There will be more memories made throughout an exciting but hectic 2011. Following his return from Europe, Josh plans to tour again with Raphael Saadiq. He’ll also make time to promote “I’m Gonna Be Ready”, now planned for an April release in Europe, and a May release in the United States. It’s a plan and schedule that may require super powers. Luckily, there’s a Samurai on call.
For more on guitarist/singer/songwriter Josh Smith, including music and tour schedule: http://joshsmithguitar.com/
To purchase “Inception” by Josh Smith: http://amzn.to/hcDUkU
Josh is on Facebook here: http://on.fb.me/f8pErv